Directional Lighting to Control Contrast: OnSet ep. 256

Hey this is Daniel Norton, I’m here in my studio in New York City with Marissa, and today I want to talk about contrast -so when we’re creating images, you know a lot of times we’ll shoot it as kind of flat, with big open soft lights, because that’s kind of safe and creates a
beautiful image, and then we end up sitting down, let’s say in
post-processing software, and we’re like darkening our blacks, or doing dodging
and burning, to add some depth to it, but in this video, we’re talking about kind of,
going to show you how to kind of do it while you’re shooting. So I’m gonna create different, there’s that different zones of light, and we’re gonna light Marisa up and we’re gonna create kind of a more, kind of a higher contrast shot, right in camera, and maybe we’ll do a little tweak in Capture One, we’ll see,
we’ll see if we need to right, and we’re gonna go through and just do that simple
enough, so one thing that’s really popular and you see a lot is, I see a lot
of you know, people actually, people ask me this question. I’ve been asked at
workshops I teach, “Daniel I see a lot of people lighting from above, can we do
that cause I think it looks cool” and then when I put the light above, and I go okay, it doesn’t look good right, because the light just above just, it doesn’t really
work, I mean you can make it work whether using an umbrella or bouncing it off the
ceiling, or the way we’re gonna do it which I’ll show you, it’s a cool way to
light but it’s not in and of itself a finished thing, you need if you’re gonna
do that you’re either gonna be very restricted as to the models position,
like chin up or whatever, or you really work the shadows you know, you can’t
really just do that, you need to add more oftentimes, some kind of fill right, well,
or in my case I’m actually gonna use a separate light, is the key, which is this
little softbox here, so we’re gonna go through everything as we go, I’ll kind of
explain to you why I’m using different pieces of equipment, and we’ll build a
kind of a fun shot. So first of all let’s talk about the light above her right? we’ve got above her, I have my four foot Chimira frame, with the full diffusion
on it, so that’s going to create super super soft light from above, and actually
when I did the very first shot, the light through it kind of was kind of
dull and boring and flat, it actually didn’t look terrible except for this, she
had dark circles under eyes, I mean if she had looked up what would’ve been
fine, but it was kind of like the boring, blah, blah, and I’m in this kind of
interesting corner that we built, there is a whole story behind that, that maybe
someday I’ll tell, but anyways I have this corner, so I decided I want to make it
a little more interesting, and the way that I did that I’ve got a Profoto B1X
up there, I put a beauty dish on it, I mean why not. I got beauty dishes, now the reason why I put a beauty dish on is, because the
thing that I had that had a tight grid, you know the tightest grid of anything I
had, so I don’t have a small grid reflector, uh handy, right now, I do have
them, but I don’t have one handy, so I put that on there, because what I want to do
is actually drop kind of a almost like a like I said cone, a column, will say a
column of light, we’re trying to make up new phrases and use them as a thing,
that’s gonna be a new thing, but we just want a column of light down on it, but the
thing is – if I just shot a column of light straight down, it would just either,
it would hit her, and be kind of hard ish light above her creating terrible
shadows, or it would miss her completely just like the background, by dropping it
down, and having to hit this diffusion, I get kind of a hot spot on the diffusion,
and then it spreads out, so we’re getting a little bit of light kind of on the top,
of her head, giving her a little bit of kind of glow there, and we’re also
hitting like on the background, creating kind of a fade, which is what I was going
for. The above light in my case is really just a little bit of kind of fill-ish,
you know to kind of bring it on her and it’s mostly lighting my background, that’s
what it’s there for, once I did that I brought in a big soft light, this is
gonna give her a nice sweeping light across, it’s gonna look pretty, a big soft
light always looks good- right? Nice and easy, and let’s start there, I’m just
gonna show you this stuff and then we’ll build it up to create a little bit more
of a dynamic shot. So let’s do it, I got my Nikon here, this is Z6. I am tethered in to Capture One as always. I’ve set the camera so that none of the
light in the studio is affecting the shot as always, so I’m at f/5.6, I’m at f/5.6, and not f/8 where I normally shoot. I know people are probably like ‘Daniel you shoot at f/8 usually’. It’s because I want a little bit more shallow depth of field
here, because that background is textured. Now I care right, if I’m shooting against a
plain white wall, I don’t care, now I care. Let’s start with the top light, so that’s
actually in my C group, so I’ve got three groups here A, B and C setup, I’m gonna
turn off A and B, and let’s just start with C. I’m just gonna start in TTL and
let’s just take a shot of what that looks like, that’s just the background
light, we want to establish again you can see that she’s got a little bit of light
touching her hair, right. It’s touching her, but it’s most of it is in the
background, and giving us this fade back there, and she’s getting a little bit of
separation here, so it’s adding a little bit of three dimensionality.
But in of itself it’s kind of a silhouette, but not looking good, so
it, it’s like a silhouette, that like is terrible, like if you were like look at
the silhouette, no you don’t do that, just bad, and that’s cuz there”s a grid on it, if
there was no grid on that light, and no beauty dish, you would just light her
more or less evenly, but with shadow in her face, which is kind of terrible, so we
could take our big soft light right, because why not, it’s like oh yeah that
looks good, our background looks great, let’s put a soft light in there, let’s
add B, actually l’ll just do B, let’s do one light at a time, this is now just B in TTL right. Boom, right pretty soft light, you can see
of course that the background is now of course no longer moody, because my, my
lights hitting it, and that’s just the one light right, that’s because this
light here is now my key light, so it’s gonna light my background. If I want to use
a big soft light like this, and if I didn’t want to hit the background, I’d
either have to have more space, use flags, or maybe use a big soft box instead. So I’d have some control, but you know since I’m using a silk, I’m not gonna be
able to do that, or I don’t want to do that, that was my point, this is really
going to be my fill light, what I want to actually do though is, use a light to
shape her and add contrast, and then kind of come back in and fill, so I’m kind of
doing this thing backwards, so that we can show you what is going to be my key
light. If you notice more and more I point this out, because I think that maybe people don’t notice is the longer I shoot, the more I start using smaller
light sources. Smaller light sources up close means, you have more control control, gives you the ability to shape and contour, which I wouldn’t want to do. So I have a Chiomera extra extra, small right, there, that’s gonna be two head, again I’m
just in TTL right now, I’m doing everything in TTL, now she looked
straight at me, it’s gonna be a little shadowy, probably because you know the
lights above her, but not terrible but look at the the contrast in the way it
shapes her face versus this, right so flat, whatever I say flat like that, I
want to do flash…. don’t tell me you’ve never seen Flash Gordon.
Oh Flashdance, no Flash Gordon, we’ll get it we’re gonna go see Flash Gordon after
this, if not uh the fact that it’s kind of not a great movie, I mean it’s okay
yeah, it has an amazing soundtrack by Queen, I mean come on. All right so we can see now we’re shaping the light it’s beautiful, but again even that it’s kind of like okay, so I hit her with a softbox – Daniel you do that every single video?
Yes I do – let’s actually build this shot up to be a little more interesting, let’s put the C light back on you guys. I’m just in TTL right now, once I get close to where I want to be, I will maybe switch to manual and just adjusting but let’s just do this – all right here we go, boom, sorry, yeah you did Bleak now, we have a little light in the
background, that looks a little nicer, I’m gonna actually, gonna tweak it up like
let’s say 3/10ths, I want a little brighter you know, I’ll wait til Marissa actually
has a proper pose, assertive look, you see there we go.
Brought the background up a little bit, got a little depth, and she does have you
know again, you can barely see it, because of the way everything’s being lit, but
she’s got this little bit of light up here around the side of her and stuff, is
actually some of the see lights coming in, it’s a little duller than the other
light, but it is giving you a little shape. Now let’s add some fill though,
because it’s, because like her body is falling into shadow, which we want, but
maybe we want a little bit of fill, so the shadows aren’t so deep, now I’m gonna
kick on that B light so let’s bring that in this is again TTL, I’m just set
at zero, I’m gonna readjust my composition in a second, we can see now
it filled it in, right, so now our shadows are not so deep and dark.
Instead of being that wash of boring light, we still have shape to her face,
right. It’s not as shadowy as this, but we have shape, and we can control what we
like, so now let’s start to bring this thing in the way we want. Number 1, since that’s pretty much how you’re gonna be posing, I’m gonna raise my
camera image, I don’t want to totally cut her hands off, readjust here slightly,
let’s see, oh you and your spot okay, good, yeah, let me just see for a second, good,
I’m on tripod, so I want to kind of set this thing up, and I got to be a little
careful, going too high, cuz I’m gonna get the softbox in my shot. So yeah, there we go maybe take half step back or had you already done that, I feel like
you’re further back than you were before, yeah okay, that’s fine, okay there we are,
stay where you are. Only photographers and the police can
say that, not the band The Police… although they could probably say it as well, just thinking, to do what he wants all right. B light, is my fill light, I’m gonna do a
little less fill, let’s make it a little more shadowy, as a general fill, right
well it’s kind of blinked, kind of blinked, kind of like that’s the drink you serve
me here… I got the soft box in that a little bit, bummer because in an attempt
to not cut off her fingers, I’m actually just gonna leave a little bit
of softbox in the shot, and that way I don’t have to keep readjusting, if I was
hand-holding, I can just kind of move around, but since I am on a tripod, I don’t
really care. Good I have plenty of Pixels, yeah, that’s
pretty good, alright, so you know, and again if you had
a client here, and you were like oh my god, if they see the softbox in the shot,
they’ll never hire me again, you can just show them it in Capture One like that, and
that crop will stay, that looks good. I actually like it a lot, I think we might
add a little bit more fill underneath her with a reflector, though just to see
if we get a little more snap in her face, I think her body looks good, I want the
dress to fall off in a little bit of darkness, I don’t want to be totally flat
so I do have a reflector right? Here this is basically just a silver reflector
that we made, Seth made in Brooklyn, actually he didn’t make it in Brooklyn,
He made it right here, what I’m gonna do is I’m actually bringing in a kind of a
funky ankle. It’s silver, I mean the reason why
I’m using silver here is, because I want, I remember that,
I have a lot of her in my shot, so I want to make sure that I get some up on her,
some up on her, and that’s gonna be harder to do, because you know, obviously it”ll
be in the film, the photo, so I got to keep the reflector lower, so silver for
the kick, there’s like a little bit of daylight creeping through on the wall,
right there, and I’m okay with that because it looks pretty cool. I actually
did a pretty darn good job, see that, even though with that distance, that’s one
reason again to use silver, it adds a little specularity, but also you can put
it further away, that looks pretty darn good, I think if anything I’m gonna now
they have that kick in there, to bring my B light back down. Let’s do one more, and then once we get
this, we’ll start shooting, yeah there we go. What do you think of that? That is rocking, do we care about that light on the background – I don’t think so, I kind of like it actually, you see it back there, yeah, you could actually just see in the shot.
That’s how bright the Sun is guys, yeah, it’s like because you saw the black
frame before, but the Sun is actually coming through, and creeping, as long as It’s
not hitting her, I kind of like it, adds a little dimensionality, if I didn’t like
that I would not change my settings, I would literally just block where the light is
coming from, I don’t know what’s going on, where’s it coming from Marissa, put your hand
out, sorry there, okay, it’s at the top, some things up here, like this yep, yeah,
that’s that’s what Apple boxes are for, people always ask me.. ‘Daniel what’s that
box for, well, just like that, all right fix that, emergency on the set, all
right now, that is perfect, I mean she can move around and what’s gonna happen to
actually have it in TTL, and you can see the background light actually got
brighter, because it’s adjusting to your, let’s just get a good solid exposure, good, we’ll get a better pose than that, ok
go, don’t let me go just my background light. Do you see I’m adjusting it down a
bit, cuz I feel like it’s a smidge bright. Yeah, that’s good, doing some final
adjustments here guys, I’m bringing the fill down a little bit, I’ll give you all
my settings in a second, there we go. Alright, so I’m in TTL, my A light which is
the small Chimera, extra small box, is set on exposure, so TTL believes that’s the
correct exposure, my B light which is my fill light, is set to 1.2 stops under..
exposure, and my C light is set at point at point two over, so it’s actually a
little hot, that’s good, it’s behind her, so you know I want to make sure it’s
that TTL is, you know you get some, I’ll balance the math. Now once we start
actually shooting, now I’m just gonna hit this button, here, boom, now I’m in manual.
that way nothing changes on me, because if she does start to
move back and forth, the light will change, I’d rather just keep it the same,
and lets do it… cue the music, and she can, because we gave her some reflector, she can’t keep her chin down, if she hadn’t, if we hadn’t given her that
reflector, she would not be able to have her chin down.
So I mean, it’d just be way too much, I kind of like that, to change your hand a
little bit though, the hair down and has that very, just kind of float your arms a
bit though, she’s like, I said this dress looks kind of like some 70s sci-fi… you
enter the ship, and you’re, she’s like I am Queen Marissa, you have imported my
vessel, and must now be subject to the laws of Marissa which includes eating
snacks, extra snacks for Marissa, I think that’s beautiful.
Let’s just do a more of a sideways with the body, yeah, there we go,
come a little closer to the reflector, and right there, perfect, good, remember
guys, I actually have the softbox in my shot but Capture One is automatically
chopping it off, I mean it’s kind of like right there, I actually have more stuff
here, just in case you forgot I did that, There is actually that much in the shot, if
now that she’s miraculously backed up or something, when I’m not
exactly sure what happened, I don’t know, say we are though now, as you moved, no
it’s cuz she, she went to one side, she looks, she’s slightly shorter, that’s her
real height, good good good, and the light is actually kind of to the
side of her, but it actually works, it gives a good shape to the face, because
we have enough fill, if I just was using that softbox, it might be a little too
shadowy on it, but because I have all that fill coming, you know she looks
great, you can move around, everything looks pretty good right, just like that.
It’s perfect, yeah, there we go, ends up it’s nice, good.
I know no down, just well, you had them just kind of float them, cuz understand
…. is people always wonder where your fingers are in these
shots, so I’m just gonna go a little wider guys, so you can have her fingers, I
know I’m giving you her fingers and her head, no you’re good dude, don’t you get
it, be yourself, I just gonna zoom, you be you, you know, you can’t have all the fingers,
but yeah I’m gonna know that she has some fingers, good good good, right there,
oh yeah, I’m just leaving some space, I can always crop in, good, go a little bit
lower, so I’m just dropping the camera, that’s how I’m gonna get it what I want,
more like that, good, good, last one, it’s never the last one, when you say it’s the
last one! We know that as photographers. Now that… oh that’s actually very nice,
very nice Marissa, you should be a model, so this looks pretty darn good, I was
gonna do some stuff in Capture One too, but I don’t really know that I would do
anything, I mean if you really wanted to, we don’t want to, I think you’d do it, but
I don’t want to do anything to it, you know I was thinking.. man maybe we’ll have
to add a little contrast in there, and Capture One… but to be honest I don’t
have to, because if I wanted more contrast in her face, I would just
remove the reflector, let’s do a couple more of that, let’s show them the
difference, let’s show them the difference just in case you forgot, from
three minutes ago in the video, I don’t know if it’s actually three minutes ago,
but you see now she’s more contrasting, and it’s also nice with and without the
reflector, depending on what you like, I actually like the reflector, in this case,
and not just because it fills the shadow in, because I kind of do like shadowy
stuff, but it adds that little specularity, which is giving her a little
more 3D dimension, so I definitely think it’s better with the reflector, but let’s
say we shot it without the reflector, now And now I might come in here with Capture
One, and I’m gonna grab my levels, I’m just gonna pull my highlights over, so I
get a little bit more pop there, and maybe a little bit like that, and the
mids and I’m gonna move my blacks in, and crunch them a bit now, we have a little
bit more contrast, her face is what matters, so I’m gonna zoom in, to make
sure that’s good, now that’s there again, Capture One, we’ll keep the settings for
all the thoughts, so that when we start shooting, that’s just gonna lock in, and
stay, just like that. it’s got two options Eyes to me, beauteous Maximus, oh oh oh,
look at that, I kind of like a little hearing a little mysterious, you keep
shooting until you get that shot, when you have that shot, that’s it, you’re like
that’s it, that’s shot right through, okay, alright one more, we have to end with a
good picture, I’m gonna zoom in close because people like a picture of
Marissa’s grill. Oh, Oh crossed arms is cool, all right,
hold on, yeah me too, the sleeves are nice, all right dude, little cross, cross, she’s
in, let’s just check this, bring ya the perfect, right there just like that, we
brought her in with the sleeves, and that’s pretty nice too, yeah, this is definitely,
we’re gonna have to produce some kind of like 70s sci-fi movie, where you will be
the Princess or Queen, Queen….Snacks space snacks, like that dehydrated ice
cream, that is the best space ice cream. If you want to send Marissa space
ice cream….okay guys so the whole point of this kind of exercise
was to show that like a lot of times people will stop when it’s kind of good
enough right…. like you get to a certain point where you’re just like okay, that
looks good, nice, pretty, light, and then we can always go in there and tweak it more,
but if just a little bit more effort, it’s gonna allow us to create stuff that
has the contrast level that we want, it’s gonna give us the depth that we want,
right on the set, and then we have it and I think that’s important to do as
photographers, it’s a good way to learn, and kind of play with light. Is to just
set up the light the way you like it, and then just add one more light to see what
it does, so that’s what I would do, what you can do is follow Marissa – her
information will be in the description, be sure to follow me of course @DanieNortonPhotographer. Subscribe to Adorama TV, and ring the bell now see you next time OnSet.

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